Not drinkin’ the airport Kool-Aid

Posted April 9, 2013 at 11:00 pm

April 10, 2013

When a sitting city councilman runs away from a TV news reporter like Russ Johnson did last week when he tried to get shed of KMBC’s Michael Mahoney, you know the whole proposal must stink to high heaven. It does. Period, paragraph, done. We won’t even begin to address Johnson’s elitist, smarter than thou arrogance he exhibited when Mahoney finally caught him at the elevators; the bottom line is this town doesn’t want or need a new $2 billion airport.

Fact: Kansas City International Airport is one of the most convenient and user friendly airports in the country as ranked annually by consumer polling agency J.D. Power and Associates. But apparently that factoid flew over the heads of the folks at 12th and Oak. By God, we’re building this thing and you’re going to like it. Sit down and take your medicine. And to help make sure you do like it, the city hired – at taxpayers’ expense – a high dollar PR firm to try to get you to drink the Kool-Aid. That bill alone comes in at $117,000.

Anyone remember back when Kay Barnes was mayor, this city spent upwards of $183 million in 2001 to renovate all of the terminals at KCI? Snazzy new floors and spiffy new departure lounges, more retail spaces, new ticketing areas. All of it was highly touted at the time and “designed to last” according to then-Aviation Director Russell Widmar. Now, a scant 12 years later, we’re supposed to believe we “need” (operative verb) a brand new airport? Kinda makes all those “improvements” for naught, huh.

Here’s a radical thought for all you new airport Kool-Aid drinkers out there. How about putting that $2 billion into infrastructure improvements like sidewalks, curbs, streetlights and (gasp!) sewers? But that’s not as glamorous as a new airport, oh no. Doesn’t make ‘em any less needed.

This thing has Pendergast cronyism written all over it. But that’s not going to stop this city from building it. And you, the taxpayer, better like it. That high falutant PR outfit better have a big manure spreader. They’ll need it on this one.